Nigeria’s U20 national team coach Paul Aigbogun is taking consolation from his side’s 2-0 loss to Senegal in the WAFU U20 Cup of Nations final, as he is happy to see two of his players, Ibrahim Abubakar Babawo and Effiom Maxwell, selected to the all-stars’ team.
Even though the Flying Eagles could not hold their own in Sunday’s final after beating Mali on penalties in the semi-final, Aigbogun said he was relieved two of his youngsters recognised on individual levels, as their awards ensured the former Warri Wolves and Enyimba of Aba coach was justified about his talent spotting efforts for the national team.
Aigbogun had to make many adjustments to his squad and play several of the players out of position, after many were excluded due to age restrictions against 17-year-old lads at the competition. In the face of daunting odds, Plateau United of Jos’ new forward, Babawo was selected among the best 11 players of the tourney, despite playing as a right full back instead of his traditional role as winger.
The teenager emerged as the best right back of the tournament after starring for Nigeria in all four games, while Enyimba of Aba’s Maxwell hit the heights with a brace against Ghana to book his selection in the stars. Also, Flying Eagles skipper, Ikouwem Udoh and towering goalkeeper, Olawale Oremade were listed among the substitutes in the tournament all-stars’ team picked by journalist who covered the matches.